These are questions and answers from real projects. Some answers came quickly, some took more work, all gave the client a feeling of achievement and progress. Get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org to get the right answers to YOUR questions.
The answer was “about $2000/sqm for display homes and up to $6000/sqm (or more!) for the “full architect” house.
The benefits: Renovating within the existing footprint brought the project within their budget and they now live in their new home. Knowing the range let the client reassess their ambitions. Initially it was tough news to take as their $250,000 budget was not doing to go as far as they had hoped. But through a design study I demonstrated how the house could be reworked under the existing roof line to achieve the most important things that the family wanted.
A: “Yes, if you approach it like this…”.
The benefits: The project is moving forward with a builder and a calm, happy client. We talked deeply about the client’s needs and wants and their budget. A concept design study revealed a number of options, which I put through industry costing software. We were then able to identify the most viable option, and tweak it to be just right. The client did need to prioritise and couldn’t have “everything” but they understood why.
A: “insulate the roof, walls, and floor (in that order), shade north windows, plant in front of west windows, invest in new window coverings, get a solar boosted HWS, consider rooftop solar.”
The benefits: This one’s easy. Lower bills, a more comfortable house, a more beautiful house and garden. It took some time, but with a sequential plan, each step could be implemented separately as funds were available.
A: “What’s most critical to your family? Where you live? Or how you live?”
The benefits: The family has sold their inner city home and moved to country Victoria. Their daughters ride ponies and they are happy. A quick costing exercise at their kitchen table revealed a likely budget of at least $500,000 to renovate. Then we talked about the practicalities of having to rent somewhere else while your home is being renovated, or the holding costs to build new somewhere else. One conversation laid out these options. Three years later, they saved that money and gained their desired lifestyle by not renovating at all!
A: “Probably not as much as you hope. And not without a six-month process. And even if you do get it though you will have no light in what’s left of your backyard.”
The benefits: This client wants to grow their family and can now see that even the best-case-scenario for developing their site has significant compromises. They are now able to choose rationally and not be stuck in “what ifs” wishful thinking. That’s power.
A: “Yes, if you modify the Entry and front steps like this…”
The benefits: This client was able to proceed with her builder and qualify in time for a Commonwealth grant. She was under a tremendous amount of pressure having had her first architect go out of business at Concept Design stage. With my support through this issue (and others), she was able to manage the project herself. The renovation and major extension is currently under construction.
A: “Yes, but are you aware the land has a significant slope? There will be additional cost for the site works and additional structure required to manage this.”
The benefits: The client didn’t waste money on a block of land that would have left them with insufficient budget to build the house they wanted. That would have been a real pickle. They are now looking at established properties in the area which will save them rental and holding costs too.
A: “Of course. What seems to be the problem? Yes, that part of the design works, no, use that material all the way down the wall, and have you considered an external door in the bathroom…?”
The benefits: This couple was relieved to receive reassurance and guidance when they felt unsupported by their design/build provider. By inviting me into their project, even at a late stage in design, I was also able to identify additional opportunities. They use the external bathroom door everyday to hang out small loads of washing and keep the backyard ready for visitors.
A: “It’s all about the bathroom. You can make additional space here, change the bathroom there, and live in the house at one level.”
The benefits: This couple successfully renovated their home and know that if they ever find themselves needing a mobility aid (be it from a running injury, surgery or age) they have full bathroom and shower access and full access to their home without steps and stairs. And they get to keep living in the place the love. That’s peace of mind.
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